9th August 2021
by Anita Gracie, Development Officer at Octopus Community Network
Allotments are all about having a space to grow some fresh food for yourself and family, maybe with a few flowers to feed the bees and pollinators to make the space even more beautiful. But, you don’t need an allotment to do any of these things!
Octopus has been helping people to grow food wherever they possibly can for over ten years, whether on a balcony, in a window box, tree pit, front or back garden or even a kitchen windowsill. We have helped people create new community gardens and learn more about how to get the best from their crops: what to grow and how to grow it; taught people how to make the ultimate plant food – home-made compost, and encouraged children to get growing.
At the heart of our work is our Community Plant Nursery, on the Tufnell Park Estate, on Tufnell Park Road. There we have raised beds and a polytunnel and we grow lots of food flowers, creating a new community of food growers, offering skills training and support to volunteers who come along to help us, and giving them the chance to take back plants to their own community gardens, balconies or window boxes. They can also share in the food that is grown there, but every week our volunteers harvest food and bag it up for our Octopus Community Hubs to cook and serve for community lunches. Why not come along to visit us at the Plant Nursery on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning between 10am and 12?
For more information about Octopus and our food growing see: https://www.octopuscommunities.org.uk/our-programmes/urban-growing/
Our Action for Local Food Project is working to develop a movement of climate action champions around the borough, all dedicated to taking action to address climate change by learning to grow food in a sustainable way, choosing the right plant to match the place, and improving and creating soil by composting and harvesting rain-water. As well as the Plant Nursery we have four more demonstrator gardens: The Story Garden, tucked behind the British Library and run by our partners Global Generation; the roofs at Brickworks Community Centre, Crouch Hill and London Metropolitan University in Holloway Road and Caledonian Park where we are working with the Friends Group to develop it into an Edible Park.
For information about our Action for Local Food Project see: https://www.actionforlocalfood.org.uk